The global recycled textile market size was valued at USD 5,502 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 7,564 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 3.6% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Recycled textile is a material derived from the recycling and recovering of used garments and waste fiber materials. Textile recycling involves the reusing or reprocessing of worn garments, fibrous material, and manufacturing byproducts. Most recyclable textiles come from municipal garbage, such as waste or old clothing, carpets, furniture, tires, footwear, and non-durable objects like sheets and towels. Recycling involves transforming used garments and materials into new items. Recycled textiles have environmental and economic benefits, including reducing the demand for virgin materials such as wool and cotton, pollution, and water and energy usage.
The demand for freshly made fibers is reduced by utilizing existing fibers and textiles. This reduces pollution by conserving water, electricity, colors, and chemicals. Through recycling, businesses can increase their profits by avoiding the costs involved with dumping in landfills while simultaneously contributing to the value and quality of the environment. It also assists in providing jobs for marginally employable laborers, charity donations and disaster relief, and the transportation of used clothing to regions where it is needed.
The expansion of the global recycled textile market is driven by an increase in recycling operations and growing demand from various industries, including retail, automotive, and building and construction. Further, a factor anticipated to contribute to the overall expansion of the recycled textile industry is the relatively low price of recycled items compared to the price of new products. However, the expansion of the global recycled textile market is anticipated to be hampered by rising processing costs and inadequate employment opportunities. In the meantime, it is projected that the advancement of recycling technology would give good growth possibilities for the recycled textile industry.
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The textile market is highly resource- and energy-intensive. There is an increment worldwide in the consumption of textiles, leading to an increase in the consumption of potable water, energy, and CO2 emissions. According to Textile Recycling Technologies, Coloring, and Finishing Methods, potable water usage is projected to increase by 50% by 2030. By 2030, it is anticipated that Co2 emissions will increase by 60%.
The textile waste generated by industrial operations and post-consumer use is repurposed, incinerated, recycled, or disposed of in landfills. Recycled textile waste remains in the textile flow system, whereas burnt textile waste results in CO2 emissions. The more textile waste is reprocessed and recycled, the less will be left for incineration, resulting in a significant decrease in CO2 emissions. The regenerated cloth does not require laborious dyeing and chemical modification, resulting in decreased CO2 emissions. Since recycling reduces CO2 emissions, it contributes to expanding the market.
In addition, recycled textile waste winds up in landfills, where it might take 300 to 500 years to disintegrate, resulting in soil contamination—reusing textile scraps aids in lowering soil contamination. In addition, recycled textiles require less water and energy for subsequent treatment processes to create new products, increasing the demand for recycled textiles and driving global recycled textile market expansion.
Consumers’ awareness regarding the recycling of textile items has expanded due to government and non-profit efforts. Thus, the increasing awareness has resulted in a significant increase in the donation and collecting of waste textiles, which stimulates the expansion of the global recycled textile market. Utilizing recovered textiles provides numerous cost reductions to the maker. Recycled textiles are significantly less expensive than virgin materials. In addition, virgin materials are not always readily available, delaying the production process and impacting the entire manufacturing cost; hence, moving to recycled textiles is advantageous. In addition, recycled textiles such as wool, cotton, and polyester require less and simpler processing, boosting the demand for recycled textiles.
Some textile recycling processes are more expensive than their related virgin material extraction. Waste textiles must undergo chemical or open-loop recycling, where they are treated for decolorization, hybrid fabric removal, stain removal, and other purposes. This increases the entire process cost and restrains the expansion of the market. Moreover, the availability of low-priced, low-quality materials on the market discourages recycled textile market expansion because these materials reduce the quality of the final product or necessitate extra processing, increasing the maker's cost. In addition, the recycled textile sector is hindered by a lack of sufficient equipment and low-level employment opportunities.
Currently, mechanical, chemical, and thermal methods are employed to recycle discarded textiles. In addition, the amount of recyclable material is minimal, leaving the non-recyclable trash for disposal or incineration. This leads to soil pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. Future expansion is facilitated by developments in materials that make them more recyclable and the discovery of new sustainable resources. In addition, technological advances in the recycling process and the development of new materials are predicted to create lucrative growth potential for the global recycled textile market.
The global recycled textile market share is segmented into type, end-use industry, and region.
Segmentation based on type includes Recycled Cotton, Recycled Wool, Recycled Polyester, Recycled Nylon, and Others.
Recycled Polyester is expected to command the largest market share during the forecast period, growing at a CAGR of 3.7%. Polyester is an artificial fiber obtained from the refining of petroleum. Polyester fiber is resilient, resistant to chemicals and stretching, and dyeable. Therefore, it is widely utilized in the fashion industry. Polyester is recycled using both mechanical and chemical methods. The mechanical procedure consists of collection, sorting, removal, crushing, grinding, shredding or pulling, re-melting or conversion, and fiber processing. The resulting fiber loses physical qualities through mechanical processing, becomes contaminated, and degrades. These fibers are predominantly employed as fillers in furniture, mattresses, insulation, and automobile lining.
Polyester is separated into individual components, mixed materials, dyes, and chemical finishes via chemical processing. Recycled polyester is reapplied to virgin or blended fabrics. The price of recycled polyester, or rPET, is under pressure due to changes in the price of crude oil. Moreover, rPET has yielded favorable results in terms of final product pricing, which has remained comparable to those of virgin fibers. In addition, the rising utilization of rPET in athletic and leisure apparel has helped the market's continued expansion. Moreover, companies like Nike, H&M, The North Face, Patagonia, and Volcom are growing their use of rPET and are among the top 10 rPET users, contributing to the expansion of the rPET market.
Recycled Nylon is a synthetic fabric with numerous applications in the clothing, automotive, and packaging sectors. Nylon possesses excellent elasticity, high strength, a high capacity for regaining moisture, and wrinkle resistance. The waste nylon is sourced from industrial and post-consumer materials. The market for recycled nylon is driven by the fact that nylon recycling reduces energy usage, wastewater production, and carbon dioxide emissions. Recycled nylon has a high-end value and can be utilized in premium and high-end garments. This allows it to be commercially viable for luxury product lines. Scale economies play a significant impact in the sector. The price decreases as the number of recycled nylon increases. Companies such as Aquafil and Nilit provide recycled nylon in clothing, legwear, ready-to-wear, and athletic wear. This drives the expansion of the global recycled textile market.
Segmentation based on the end-use industry includes Automotive, Retail, Mining, Building & Construction, and Others.
Retail is expected to own the largest market share, growing at a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecast period. In retail categories, recycled polyester and polyester fibers are extensively employed. The production cycle consists of the collection, processing, and utilization. The recycled fabrics are initially included in product design and development and are utilized throughout production. These recycled materials are accessible via the retail supply chain and post-consumer collection techniques.
The retail market for recycled textiles is anticipated to expand due to the rising demand for customized, low-cost garments. According to a survey, 80% of discarded clothing can be recycled, but only 25% are used in recovered textile production. Additionally, the demand for low-cost, fast-fashion garments is anticipated to result in the mass manufacture of recycled fabrics. In addition, a shift toward eco-friendly textile items due to rising CO2 emissions has a favorable effect on global recycled textiles in retail market growth.
Automotive Recycled Textiles comprise upholstery and seating, floor coverings, trunk covers, pillar coverings, safety belts, airbags, and other interior components. These recycled textiles are generally manufactured by cutting or plucking and then fed through a high-speed rotating take-in device. Increased demand for inexpensive textiles is predicted to fuel the expansion of the automobile sector.
In addition, the employment of recycled textiles in automobile interiors is anticipated to rise as their use in aesthetic enhancement increases. These materials are superior to typical fabric materials due to reduced flammability, resilience to sunlight, abrasion resistance, soil resistance, and UV degradation. Over the forecast period, Recycled Textile Market growth is anticipated to be driven by introducing new products with lower CO2 emissions and higher fuel efficiency.
The regional segmentation of the global recycled textile market share includes North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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North America is anticipated to be the largest market shareholder, growing at a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period. Due to the prevalence of prominent market participants in the US and Canada, North America is expected to maintain a substantial market share for recycled textiles. The US generates the most textile waste in the region. Hence, organizations that reuse or recycle used clothes propel the recycled textile market.
Furthermore, growing government and consumer awareness also stimulate market expansion. Consequently, the number of reused textiles is considerable, while textile waste generation is relatively low. However, the high cost of recovered textile products hinders market expansion. In the meantime, technological advances in recycling techniques present an attractive potential for expanding the recycled textile market.
Asia-Pacific is expected to generate USD 2,658 million, growing at a CAGR of 3.5% during the forecast period. The majority of the countries in the region are both developing and developed. Due to the increased demand for recycled textiles from growing nations such as China, India, Australia, and South Korea, Asia-Pacific is an emerging market for recycled textiles. China, South Korea, Australia, and Japan have rigorously followed the Circular Economy Plan. The decrease in textile waste sent to landfills has significantly shifted the focus of manufacturers towards recycling.
In addition, the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program, which provides government support, contributes to recycled textile market expansion. To prevent landfilling and combustion of textile waste, manufacturers from India and Australia are increasing their recycling efforts, stimulating the development of the recycled textile industry. However, the lack of resources in some nations hinders the expansion of the business. China and India, two of the world's largest economies, contributed significantly to the region's economic decline, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.